Thursday, September 18, 2014

I Can't Remember the Last Time I ____________.



Very telling words, those seven.

They came as I sit on our covered porch listening to the rain rolling off the metal roof and landing on the parched ground.

The smell refreshing.                                                                                                                                 The air cool and damp.                                                                                                                         The view manifold shades of grey.                                                                                                                                                                    My light jacket providing the necessary comfort to stay and feel the slight rock of the hanging swing.

I can’t remember the last time I just sat experiencing the wonder of rain.

While I sat, thoughts tumbled into my journal…

The gutter-less metal roof causing streams of water to cascade before me defines the picture. Those streams from above cut small crevices in the hardened earth below; the crevices enlarge and the crusty brown turns soft and malleable.

A visual from God? Perhaps.

Might the rain be picturing God’s tears falling on the hard places of our lives; creating crevices and gently crushing our overly-protective exterior replacing it with seeds of trust, and grace, and growth in the now softened soil? 

Is this not a living illustration of Isaiah 55:10-13?
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the LORD, and everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

I’m thinking I need to create more times—times of sitting and pondering God’s masterpieces—and fill in the blank behind my “I can’t remember…” seven words. 

New aware-nesses and new perspectives that my busy, full life often speed by become obvious. I want to harvest those good seeds and let them conform me to His acuities. 

Oh how much I miss in the fast lane!

What does this look like for you? How do you take time to watch, to be with, to hear from God? What are the crusts in your life that would benefit from the gentle water of the Word? What would it look like today for you to trust what you are hearing from God?

“The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring. Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the LORD on high is mighty!”  (emphasis added)                                                                                                                                                                 Psalm 93:3 and 4

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Exciting News Spawning a Big Question

Already I love this Baby!

December 9, 2014—not only our 42nd anniversary, also the due date for our next GRAND-child. We are thrilled that Jeff and Aubrey are expecting their third little one.

With the announcement of each baby, my habit is to ask God for a scripture to pray for that child.
Psalm 22:30-31 was his answer this time.

“Posterity shall serve him; it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation; they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.”

God’s answer led to a question …

How do you do that? How do you proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn?

I love God’s words to Jeremiah. He records for us in 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you;” And Paul’s words too, “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” Ephesians 1:4

Precious Baby Feet
And the familiar words of Psalm 139 speak of God’s activity as well in the lives of the unborn. "For
you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. Wonderful are your works; … My frame was not hidden from you, … Your eyes saw my unformed substance;” (phrases from verses 14-16)

What does it look like to join with God in his activity before a child is born?

Moms, grandmas, everyone—I’d love to hear your thoughts.

“Our children and their children will get in on this. As the word is passed along from parent to child. Babies not yet conceived will hear the good news—that God does what he says.”                                        Psalm 22:30 and 31, The Message

Thursday, September 4, 2014

School or Church



School or church. That was the choice. 

Our sons were in grade school and as a former grade school teacher it seemed natural to respond to the call for parent volunteers. 

And then there was my desire to be involved in the women’s ministry of our church. I enjoy leading Bible studies and I think I’m pretty good in that arena.

And then the rest of life—hospitality, neighbors, extended family—there was always something good to give my time to.

With so many options presenting themselves that fall, my husband stepped in and suggested I choose between a more formal commitment at the boys’ school or at our church. That was hard! I wanted to do both. I wanted to be super-woman. 

In the end, I chose our church.

But with my decision, I felt a bit of awkwardness, a bit of fear even. What will the teachers and other parents think when I’m not volunteering at the school carnival? That people-pleaser tendency is very real.

I felt a bit guilty as well. I really should be helping. 

This crazy thought kept circling, I should be able to do it all. Ahhh, should the key that unlocked my predicament. The word that when heard steers decisions. Possibly in the wrong direction.

Years later as I ponder other involvement opportunities, I finally get it. Our sons are grown and married now, but good opportunities continue to abound. Should does not enter the decision. 

Desire does; capacity does; calling does; but not should.

For years I meditated on the first words of I Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession,” and that’s where I stopped. Today I looked at the rest of the verse, “that you may proclaim the excellences’ of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (Emphasis mine) Out of the darkness of confusion, out of the shoulds, into his marvelous light!

I love the way Eugene Peterson in The Message Bible sums up the fruit of the Spirit verses in Galatians 5, "We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely." (Emphasis mine)

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give your rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”                                                                                                                       (Matthew 11:28-30)